MPs have called for better funding of early interventions for children and young people with mental health problems, in a critical report citing ‘serious problems’ with services.
The report, from the Commons health committee, said child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in many areas ‘are being cut or suffering from insecure or short-term funding’, while ‘many CCGs report having frozen or cut their budgets’.
The committee also cited increased waiting times and referral thresholds at a time of rising demand and called on NHS England and the Department of Health to ‘monitor and increase spending levels on CAMHS until we can be assured that CAMHS services in all areas are meeting an acceptable standard’.
The report comes after a Pulse investigation earlier this year revealed many CCGs have cut funding of CAMHS, despite GPs reporting they arealready struggling to refer children and young people to the appopriate services for help – and claims from NHS England there was no central directive to do so.
The Health committee report also calls for ‘a full update’ from Health Education England, the GMC and royal colleges about plans to give GPs better training and experience in both child health and psychiatry, after hearing evidence GPs are ‘ill-equipped and lacking in confidence’ in dealing with young people experiencing mental health problems.
The MPs said: ‘We would like to seek further assurance that the issue of GP training in children’s and adolescent’s mental health will be addressed by this work.’